Professionals need insurance to protect themselves and their business in a variety of scenarios and from a broad range of concerns or potential liabilities- that much we know. However, while insurance is a necessary cost of doing business, how will you know that you’re getting the right amount of coverage, versus shelling out for more than you need, or taking the “few clicks and you’re covered” route and ending up with cheap insurance that doesn’t close the right gaps when it’s time to deal with a claim?
Whether you’re grabbing the bare minimums and getting cheap insurance, spending quite a bit, or finding a middle ground that gives you the coverage you need without anything extraneous, there are a lot of details to consider. You’ll need to have a complete understanding of your risk tolerance, you’ll need to be aware of all the available coverages and what is advisable based on your unique professional needs- and you’ll need access to someone knowledgeable and experienced with the ins and outs of professional coverage. That knowledge isn’t likely to pop up on a screen with a few clicks, either.
In most cases, professionals will need to have professional liability policies in addition to general liability, cybersecurity liability, and other customized policies to meet their specific needs, dependent on their area of specialty and the types of cases or clients they generally work with. Having full and appropriate coverage means different things for different professionals- professional policies aren’t one-size-fits-all.
There are essentially three different levels of coverage. Cheap insurance, expensive insurance, and something in between- a middle ground, if you will. With a cheaper policy, you aren’t likely to have a lot of coverage, you’ll have an earlier retroactive date, higher deductibles, and defense not included as an outside limit factor. However, with an expensive policy, you’ll likely have a lower deductible, perhaps it includes a cybersecurity policy, and defense outside the limits- but the cost difference is greater. There is a tendency, when professionals are seeking out insurance policies, to take the attitude that, “well, I have to have this, I’m not likely to need it though, so I’ll take the cheapest available option.” However, in the race to the bottom with respect to costs, jettisoning coverage that ultimately needs to be there is the only way to get to those minimal prices.
Ideally, where you’ll end up is that middle ground after you’ve calculated your risk tolerance. Getting coverage that’s as cheap as possible will lead to significant gaps in coverage, but depending on your budget, the most expensive coverage may not make financial sense either. Talking to a local professional insurance agent to find the right coverage for your needs, discussing your cost basis options, and looking at different policy types resolves this. Finding a middle ground policy that makes sense, has deductibles that will be manageable in the event of a claim, considers defense costs, either inside or outside the limit, and takes all risk factors into account isn’t something you should take on on your own- and while many megasites offer policies in just a few clicks, they don’t take into account the nuance involved with the unique needs of an individual business and their risk tolerance.
What is your risk tolerance? Do you want to have a lower deductible, or are you comfortable with a higher deductible in favor of lower premiums? When it comes time to deal with a claim, will you remember what decision you made? Unfortunately, come claim time, it’s common for frustrated professionals to find themselves wondering, “why do I have such a high deductible?” and it’s often a direct result of desiring to save something like $300 at the time of signing- and now rather than a $500 deductible, we’re dealing with a $10,000 deductible. Essentially, it means that while you saved an extra $300 here, you’re out $7,000 or $8,000 thanks to that high deductible. For some, this is manageable, but it all depends. Come claim time, we’d all rather have a lower deductible, but it’s not always the most feasible case. That’s why as insurance professionals we work with our clients to make sure they have a complete understanding of what coverage they’re buying and how it will work for them when they have a need for it.
All of the above just further reiterates why it’s important to work with a professional rather than heading online and clicking a few boxes to get your policy. While that may certainly sound convenient, and typically you are presented with lower prices, which are appealing, there’s a good chance that you end up with a policy that either doesn’t cover what it is you need to cover, or leaves you stuck with a nasty surprise when you need to make a claim. Whether that surprise ends up being defense costs, deductibles, or gaps in coverage, no one wants to be on the receiving end of an unpleasant surprise when it comes to insurance coverage.
To purchase your policy online and get adequate coverage, you’d need the understanding of every nuance of not only your business, but the insurance ins and outs that pertain to your business- worldwide coverages if you deal in international business or trade work, cyber liability coverages, copyright coverages, trade infringement, and so on. It’s the job of a professional insurance agent to know all of those details, including all of the right questions to ask that you may not even think of, and that a simple few clicks on a website aren’t likely to ascertain either.
It’s likely to have heard from attorneys that using LegalZoom.com may get you the bare minimum documents you need, but they often have gaps and loopholes easily exploited by professional attorneys. The same applies with tax sites and tax professionals- it’s common to hear about those who use sites or software solutions missing out on hundreds, even thousands of dollars in refunds because they didn’t know the right questions to ask, or documents to submit. All of this holds true for professional insurance policies as well. When you make your policy purchase online, you may feel as though you’ve saved some steps- some time and money- but is that ultimately what you’ve done? What happens when you have a question or concern about your policy? Who do you call? When you work with a professional, you’ll have someone there for you, who is invested in ensuring you have the coverage you need, that you understand the ins and outs of your policies, and that your questions are answered to your satisfaction when you have them. When it comes time to file a claim, your insurance professional can walk you through the process, at your service to determine when to file a claim, and how to make the most of your policy. A few clicks on your computer aren’t going to provide you with that kind of personalized connection and service.
Ultimately, getting the right insurance as a professional means much more than simply grabbing the cheap and easy bare minimums. Speaking with a professional insurance agent who cares, who has the experience, and is invested in helping you to get the right coverage for your business and your unique needs makes all the difference when it comes down to needing to file a claim. You’ll be left without unpleasant surprises, a thorough understanding of your coverage, and the guidance of a pro as you walk through the process. The last thing you want to deal with when you’re in a position to file a claim is further headaches. Working with insurance professionals is the solution.